‘It was horrible’: COVID shatters mum’s water birth plan
BROOKE Hughes was 34 weeks pregnant during the height of the pandemic when she found out via Facebook that her birth plan had to change.
COVID-19 threw the Friends of the Mackay Birth Centre committee member's plan for a water birth at the centre into disarray.
A Mackay state election candidate has now put forward a $800,000 commitment to ensure it never happens again.
Like many other expectant mothers in the region, Ms Hughes was impacted when two rooms in the Mackay Birth Centre were closed.
The step was taken so expectant mothers with COVID-19 could use them if needed.
The measure was in place from April 17 until May 27, when the rooms were reopened.
Their closure meant Ms Hughes was forced to have her third child, Layla, at Mackay Base Hospital's labour ward on April 18.
"It was horrible; I found out via a Facebook post," she said.
"So as you can imagine, being 34 weeks pregnant, it was not a very nice feeling.
"I then had to contact my midwife and she had to calm me down."
Ms Hughes had never given birth in the ward before, which did not accommodate for her planned water birth.
"I was going into unfamiliar territory - so it was scary," she said.
"They had a small corner bath … I'm not overweight but I couldn't fit in it.
"A normal person would not be able to fit in it."
Mackay LNP candidate Chris Bonanno said his daughter was expecting in April when she found out the night she was in labour that she could not use the birth centre.
"This was very distressing for her at the time," Mr Bonanno said.
"I want to do whatever I can to ensure our health service has the capacity to enable mums to make the birthing choices they want."
Mr Bonanno and Whitsunday candidate Amanda Camm have today pledged $800,000 to make this happen under an LNP Government.
The funding will cover an upgrade and improvement to birthing suite options at Mackay Base Hospital.
This will include an additional ensuite birthing room, which would be a negative pressure facility that is COVID compliant.
The funding will also cover the installation of three new birthing baths.
Ms Camm said the pandemic had reinforced the need for the upgrade.
"Many expectant mothers were bitterly disappointed to find that in the final months and even days of their pregnancy, they would no longer be able to have the birth they had planned," she said.
"Funding more facilities provides more options for all mums, because it would expand the offering at Mackay Base Hospital."